LONDON -- Broadband World Forum 2016 -- Matt Hancock, the UK's Minister of State for Digital and Culture, addressed a packed audience at the recent Broadband World Forum in London and outlined the UK government's thoughts on the current digital landscape and where it needed to be in order to lead the digital economy. It was a bold speech on the future of Digital Britain and how the UK should be a world leader, and not just a leader in the lagging European region.
High-speed fiber networks will be a critical part of the story. Before introducing gigabit services, the US city of Chattanooga, Tenn., had practically zero venture capital funding. As of 2014, it boasted, as The Guardian reports, an incredible $50 million in investments. Cities and countries with high-speed networks will have more influence in shaping the future, and this is where the UK needs to be, said Hancock.
The minister also pointed out that customers really don't care about the underlying technology -- only that it allows them to access the services they want. Yet there is evidently huge disagreement on whether operators can meet evolving service needs through upgrades to existing copper lines. Many in the industry believe there should be more focus today on replacing this last-mile infrastructure with much higher-speed fiber.
As shown by the demos at the Broadband World Forum, G.fast, a technology that supercharges copper-line connections, is generating plenty of interest. In the short term, G.fast may look very attractive to private-sector investors funding access-network improvements. But the broader view is that G.fast is only an incremental step and will ultimately need to make way for more fiber.
Pressure from UK regulatory authority Ofcom has driven incumbent operator BT to make a bigger commitment to fiber-to-the-premises technology. It now plans to make FTTP services available to about 2 million premises in the UK over the next few years. But if the UK wants to assert itself as a digital leader in the future, it will have to go a lot further. And that means full fat-fiber on a much bigger geographical scale.
Gary McLaren, CTO and co-owner of Hong Kong Broadband Network, talks to us about why Hong Kong is more forward-thinking than other cities and what others can learn if they want to lead a smarter future.
When is a 'gigabit' service a gigabit service? New Zealand ISP Spark pushes ahead with its new Ultra Fast Fibre MAX broadband product offering near-gigabit speeds, but can't yet call it a gigabit service.
Over the next two years, approximately 60% of service providers (both large and small) will adopt virtualization on a wide scale across their networks, according to the latest survey report from Ovum. Why are providers making these moves? Is there an easy way to start?
Learn how and why service providers are using virtualization to transform their networks. This webinar will look at how providers are leveraging virtualization to create more flexible and agile networks while also providing a better customer experience. Expert speakers from netElastic and Heavy Reading will address the industry drivers for network virtualization, the benefits that can be realized, the challenges to face and the results of virtualization being achieved by providers today.
Key topics will include:
Current network infrastructure and the move to virtualization
Benefits and challenges of network virtualization
How providers can get started
Service provider success stories: the decision to virtualize, the solution, and results